Empowering women in business

Words by Robyn McCorkelle

Caitlin Baker. Photo by Robyn McCorkelle

Starting a business is never easy, and women face unique challenges, such as access to funding, discrimination, and societal expectations. Despite these obstacles, many women have been able to overcome these challenges.

I was proud to be amongst 130 women at the Women in Business Networking event held by Nillumbik Shire Council at the Eltham Community & Reception Centre.  It was a buzz to be in a room with so many talented, hard working women with a drive to succeed and learn. 

Emily Osmond, who launched The Modern Marketing Collective was the keynote presenter. She gave insights into increasing marketing, targeting and capturing your audience and a collaboration approach into marketing your business.   An exciting and very informative presentation.  There was an opportunity to join Mira Claudia, Mindset Confidence Coach and Founder of “HER trybe” Women in Business Networking Group for an exclusive workshop. Mira will guide you through your learnings and turn them into action.  

Our scrumptious nibbles and lunch was provided by Everydayfood – uniquely presented, fresh and absolutely delicious.  

I was fortunate to have the pleasure to chat to one of our local, ongoing successful women about her business.

Let me introduce you to Caitlin Baker.  A local growing up in our very own community, Research.  After attending the local primary and completing Year 12 at Eltham High school, Caitlin recognised her passion for business.  With a number of courses and certificates accomplished, Caitlin commenced her business venture in Queensland when she launched Vogue Events (2003), an events and wedding planning business, and then partnering in a lighting & sound company in the year 2006.  Hard work and dedication proved this to be successful.  Then having to escape a volatile relationship, the need to return to her grass roots to hit the reset button with her young daughter, was thrown into the mix.

With a 5 year old daughter, time management played an enormous role in navigating the “where to and what now” issues.  Getting back to business, Vogue Printsavers was created, which allowed Caitlin to work from home around school hours. Still needing to support herself and her daughter though, Caitlin commenced a corporate training role in a part-time capacity, sharing her knowledge with others, while engaging as a subcontractor with an international events management company.  Again expanding her knowledge, networking and learning while working on her business, Vogue Business Solutions.

Connecting with her community, Caitlin joined the local BNI Group to be around like minded people, to celebrate their business success, gain knowledge, learn and expand her own business while making some amazing friends and colleagues in our community.  It was here that she learned of fellow members requiring office / administrative support for the day to day running of their businesses.  So in 2017 Caitlin launched Tradie Support Services.

It is a company that supports trades people all over Australia.  This business looks after all administrative and job management aspects including a reception service, builds your website, sets up accounting software, and provides training and ongoing support. They do your BAS and bookkeeping, manage social media, print all your cards and promo products. 

Tradie Support Services employed their first team member in 2018.  With continuous hard work, dedication and love for what she does, Caitlin is now the proud Director of a team of 10 employees.  Caitlin is always looking to give employment opportunities to someone who is wanting to be part of a positive and hardworking team.

Commencing and partnering with the ServiceM8 platform, the last 5 years of growth has been recognised with Partner of the Year in 2021, Silver Partnership in 2019 and Gold Partnership in 2020, awards. ServiceM8 has 500 client throughout Australia, and Tradie Support Services are their fastest growing partner.

“My primary goal, and that of Tradie Support Services, is to assist our clients in achieving profitability, success, and business autonomy, by offering comprehensive services that facilitate their growth and development.” says Caitlin.

Caitlin’s ultimate aim is to expand Tradie Support Services to employ more than 50 individuals and provide support to thousands of tradespeople across the country.  

Additionally, she aspires to: 

  • establish a secure and supportive work environment for individuals who have escaped from volatile relationships and are seeking a fresh start in the workforce,
  • provide an environment for a work experience role, volunteer capacity or even employment, 
  • furnish an atmosphere for people to re-engage with society, expand their capabilities into the workforce again.  

She would also like to connect with government agencies or private sectors to accommodate this.   It is a mission that continues to drive this young entrepreneurial local woman in business.

Thank you to Nillumbik Shire Council for creating a fabulous afternoon and providing an opportunity for women business to connect and share.